Sunday, September 7, 2014

Building a Bag for Autumn

We're into September and the weather is starting to cool down. My pretty yellow summer purse is starting to look out of place and I desperately need something new.

Autumn Purse: Day 1

I pulled out my heavier purse weight fabrics this morning in hopes of finding one that really excited me. Not that I found much choice in my drawer. I have black with cream and cream with black. What was I thinking when I bought two pieces in the same basic colors? I'm not excited, but both are very practical, and either one of them will do nicely.

Hmm... I'll leave choosing for tomorrow.

I had the fabric, but not the other essentials, so I ran out and bought a zipper, some lining fabric, and thread. I didn't really have to go clear across town, but my daughter lives on over there. She's only a few blocks from our two largest fabric stores, and that gave me a great excuse to drop in and visit with her for a few minutes on a Saturday.

I want something really simple in this bag because I'd like to do it and have it done fairly quickly - not so fast as to be sloppy, but I won't be adding too many time consuming design details. I'll make something wonderful later. Right now, I just need a purse!

Now for a design plan. 

I like the size of my yellow purse, so that part is easy. The little outer pockets are great, too, but I need to make some changes in how to construct them. Those pocket flaps were such a pain! And I really don't need the magnetic closures on the small pockets. 

This is my first sketch. Pretty basic, isn't it?

Do you see how I've positioned flaps so they'll be sewn into a seam? I'm not sure if the pockets, themselves, will show on the outside of the bag or not. Still thinking about that. 

Tomorrow I begin cutting. 

Autumn Purse: Day 2

I was so late getting started with sewing on this new purse today! My morning simply got away from me. It started with oversleeping. I was up too late last night, but there was no way I could put my book down with the excitement of the last few chapters. The book was worth it, but the late email responses that followed could have waited till morning. 

After breakfast with the Sunday paper I changed sheets on beds, did laundry, and baked some yummy blueberry-raspberry muffins. I did get out my sewing machine, but I used it to repair a seam on a fitted sheet that ripped out as I was putting it on the bed. By then it was time for lunch. 

Finally, with the kitchen cleaned up, I was ready to begin my purse.

Like I said, I really don't want to take forever on this project. That settled my fabric choice. I'm going with the simple floral print and no other fabric for trim. The front and back pockets will be sewn onto the outside of the bag, and quilting will be  basic and easy. 

I cut out all the pieces that will be quilted first. "Stiff Stuff" is the batting for the body of the bag, but the pockets need to be lighter weight and more flexible so I'm using good old, basic, "Warm and Natural" for those. The backing fabric is a very inexpensive, lightweight muslin.

It's easier to quilt larger segments of fabric than lots of tiny pieces. Here are my main sections laid out in quilt sandwiches. The big piece is for the body of the bag. Other pieces are for pockets and for a separately attached strip at the top of the bag. I'm definitely adding that so I can experiment with setting my pocket flaps into a seam. 

As I said, really basic quilting. I don't want the quilting to be dominant on this bag so I'm using a fine 60 weight, black, polyester thread on the top with regular 50 weight cotton in the bobbin.  I'm also using the floral pattern on the fabric as a general guide. That way I don't have to think at all - just follow the flowers. This quilting is less about being decorative than it is about holding everything together and giving the bag body.

The stitches show up clearly on the wrong side. You can see that there are some overlaps and wandering lines. Since the fabric is duck-cloth in weight and tightly woven, the black quilting barely shows. Wandering lines can't be seen at all from the right side. 

The two largest sandwiches are quilted, but I had to stop early. 

Our son came over to visit this afternoon and he's staying for dinner. Love having him here!

The bag will wait till the next time I can sew on it. Family first.

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